This paper concerns an in-depth analysis of an exceptional incursion of mineral dust over southern Europe in late March 2020 (27–30 March 2020). This event was associated with an anomalous circulation pattern leading to several days of PM10 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 10 µm) exceedances in connection with a dust source located in central Asia; this is a rare source of dust for Europe, which is more frequently affected by dust outbreaks from the Sahara Desert. The synoptic meteorological configuration was analyzed in detail, and the aerosol evolution during the transit of the dust plume over northern Italy was assessed at high time resolution by means of optical particle counting at three stations, namely Bologna, Trieste, and Mt. Cimone, allowing for the revelation of the transport timing among the three locations. Back-trajectory analyses supported by Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) maps allowed for the location of the mineral dust source area in the Aralkum region. Therefore, the event was analyzed by observing the particle number size distribution with the support of chemical composition analysis. It is shown that the PM10 exceedance recorded is associated with a large fraction of coarse particles, which is in agreement with mineral dust properties. Both the in situ number size distribution and the vertical distribution of the dust plume were cross-checked using lidar ceilometer and aerosol optical depth (AOD) data from two nearby stations and showed that the dust plume (in contrast to those originating from the Sahara Desert) traveled close to the ground (up to a height of about 2 km). The limited mixing layer height caused by high concentrations of absorbing and scattering aerosols caused the mixing of mineral dust with other locally produced ambient aerosols, thereby potentially increasing its morbidity effects.

Development and evolution of an anomalous Asian dust event across Europe in March 2020

Laura Tositti
Primo
Project Administration
;
Erika Brattich
Secondo
Methodology
;
Pietro Morozzi
Software
;
Alessandro Bracci
Data Curation
;
Silvana Di Sabatino
Supervision
;
Federico Porcù
Supervision
;
Alessandro Zappi
Ultimo
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
2022

Abstract

This paper concerns an in-depth analysis of an exceptional incursion of mineral dust over southern Europe in late March 2020 (27–30 March 2020). This event was associated with an anomalous circulation pattern leading to several days of PM10 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 10 µm) exceedances in connection with a dust source located in central Asia; this is a rare source of dust for Europe, which is more frequently affected by dust outbreaks from the Sahara Desert. The synoptic meteorological configuration was analyzed in detail, and the aerosol evolution during the transit of the dust plume over northern Italy was assessed at high time resolution by means of optical particle counting at three stations, namely Bologna, Trieste, and Mt. Cimone, allowing for the revelation of the transport timing among the three locations. Back-trajectory analyses supported by Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) maps allowed for the location of the mineral dust source area in the Aralkum region. Therefore, the event was analyzed by observing the particle number size distribution with the support of chemical composition analysis. It is shown that the PM10 exceedance recorded is associated with a large fraction of coarse particles, which is in agreement with mineral dust properties. Both the in situ number size distribution and the vertical distribution of the dust plume were cross-checked using lidar ceilometer and aerosol optical depth (AOD) data from two nearby stations and showed that the dust plume (in contrast to those originating from the Sahara Desert) traveled close to the ground (up to a height of about 2 km). The limited mixing layer height caused by high concentrations of absorbing and scattering aerosols caused the mixing of mineral dust with other locally produced ambient aerosols, thereby potentially increasing its morbidity effects.
Laura Tositti, Erika Brattich, Claudio Cassardo, Pietro Morozzi, Alessandro Bracci, Angela Marinoni, Silvana Di Sabatino, Federico Porcù, Alessandro Zappi
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/880209
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